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Interstate child support guidelines for Texas parents

Houston couples may anticipate a lifelong relationship when they marry, but we all know some marriages are not built for distance. Parenthood continues beyond the end of a break-up or divorce. Whether or not parents were married, former partners or ex-spouses are responsible for the care and welfare of their children.

Family law courts encourage parental involvement in children's lives, no matter what custody arrangements are made. Non-custodial parents are required to contribute financial support for children's needs. State child support collection and enforcement agencies make sure parents honor their financial obligations.

In the past, a parent's relocation out of state could cause jurisdictional confusion. In some cases, conflicting support orders were issued and enforcement efforts were caught up in a legal tangle. The adoption of the federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act by states created a system to help deal with cross-state child support orders and enforcement.

Today, states handle support issues in consistent ways and honor active support orders, no matter where they were issued. Child support orders now can be registered in other states, where they are enforced under the registering state's rules. Parents, who do not initiate a support order registration in a new state, may ask for a hearing to air their objections.

Support collections sometimes reach beyond state borders, without involving the enforcement agency in a non-custodial parent's state. For instance, UIFSA rules allow a Texas wage garnishment order to be sent to an out-of-state employer, so child support can be deducted from the paycheck of a non-custodial parent.

Child support modifications – changes to an initial order – also may occur across state lines. In short, UIFSA rules guarantee there is never more than one "controlling order" for a single child support case. An attorney can explain in detail how this system works in Texas and other jurisdictions and how it affects your child support situation.

Source: The Attorney General of Texas, "UIFSA: The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act" accessed Jan. 28, 2015

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